Let me just start with this, if you haven’t held a book tasting for your students then you need to plan one now! This event was simple to plan and had great payoffs! My students were so excited and engaged, it was an event that made my teacher heart burst!
There are so many reasons to have a book tasting and so many purposes. My #1 reason to have a book tasting is to share the love of reading. There is no standard to be taught here, but as reading teachers it should be one of our highest goals. To show children the joy and love of reading for only that purpose.
Now for purposes, you can take this event and make it fit any age or grade. There are so many ideas out there to guide you as well. Here are a few purposes to have as a goal for your book tasting.
- Book Clubs- This was my purpose! My goal was to introduce 5 new books to each of my 5th Grade ELA classes. I wanted them to choose what book they would enjoy to read next for independent reading.
- New Books- This was my other purpose! Humans are creatures of habits. Therefore my students tend to read books by the same authors or of the same genres. I wanted to introduce my students to books that they may never have picked up to try before.
- Genres- This is perfect for primary grades! When teaching genres or wanting to spread students through a variety of genres, this is a great introduction. You can have students look at books from Tall Tales, Fairy Tales, Historical Fiction and all sorts of other genres!
So let me rewind quickly, my purpose of holding a book tasting was to introduce new books to my students to read in book clubs. During the 2nd 9 weeks, I did a whole group book club with my students. We read the book Wonder. I simply messaged all of my parents and within 2 weeks each parent bought their child the book or the kindle book. If you haven’t read this book yet, it is so awesome! You can teach so many character lessons! Kindness Matters! Click HERE or on the photo below to grab a copy.
Throughout the 2nd 9 weeks I modeled a whole group book club with my students. Yes, I needed grades as well so I used this packet. It was very well written and my students enjoyed the quick writes, songs and Figurative Language lessons. The vocabulary and comprehension checks helped me with weekly grades too! Probably my favorite lesson with Wonder came with Plot. Such a great story to use for teaching Plot!
If you have not read Wonder yet I HIGHLY recommend you do! This book is perfect for grades 4-6! You can teach every single Reading Literature standard plus a ton of Figurative Language and Writing! The best part is, the Character lessons you can teach. It fits into anyone Character Education lessons.
At the end of the 2nd 9 weeks I got my students all excited for a book tasting and for them to get ready to begin their own book clubs. I searched high and low for books that all, or the majority, of my students have yet to read. I did this by looking at my conference notes, past Scholastic student orders and surveys. I had a few book sets of my own, my colleagues lended me a few book sets and I used my scholastic points to order a few book sets. I ended up with 10 book sets, 5 for each class. After the 3rd 9 weeks, I will flip flop the sets for the opposite class to use during the 4th 9 weeks.
So, onto the main event, the book tasting!
After picking out the 5 book sets per class, it was planning time! I specifically planned this event for the last week before the holiday break. I arranged a day that I could use the Library. I preferred the Library over the classroom because of the setting. Also, I could have it all set up where my students could be surprised.
Next I did a little shopping. Some things you may have and some things you may purchase that can definitely be reused.
My first stop was the Dollar Tree. There I picked up:
- Candles [battery operated]
- Serving trays
The second stop was Michaels. My co-teacher picked up:
- Red flowers
- Standing picture holders
The third stop was Amazon. There I grabbed:
[Click on the titles for a direct link to purchase for your Book Tasting Event!]
My last stop was TpT! Here’s what I used:
- I purchased this Book Tasting product from Head Over Heels for Teaching! [Be sure to click on her name to visit and follow her!] LOVE, LOVE! The product is complete and ready for you to print, prep and go! You can enter to win a FREE copy at the end of this post! Keep reading to enter!
- I grabbed this Freebie from Primary Teacher Resources. I used the Top 3 Choices form with my students. This helped me organize them into their new Book Clubs.
My co-teacher and I spent some time prepping the following:
- We laminated placemats
- Made copies of items to use for students to record on
- Printed and laminated book covers to hang
Other than that, it was easy! We brought everything to the Media Center & set up the afternoon before! We had a computer cart and screen prepped. I used it to show the Book Trailers and as a timer.
Exactly How I Hosted the Book Tasting
1, The Book Tasting was planned for 1 hour for each of my ELA Blocks. When it was time, my students lined up with a pencil in hand to make their way to the Library.
2. Students arrived to the Media Center, I welcomed all students to the Book Tasting and introduced myself as their cook and waiter! I proceeded to give them directions about the event.
3. Students proceeded to pick up their read name cards [like a wedding reception] and made their way to the reservation desk. We then gave students their table numbers and they began sitting down.
4. Once students were all seated I explained all of the items at their seat and the purpose of use.
5. After all instructions for the order of events were given I introduced each class to their book choices.
6. After letting students have some conversations about the book choices and probing questions, I explained that we will start with watching a Book Trailer of each book.
7. Students then watched 5 Book Trailers from YouTube. I allowed students time to have some table discussions about the Book Trailers. I used probing questions to get them talking and thinking.
8. We then reviewed how we preview books and the different ways to do so. Instruction were then given on how students would “taste” each book on the “platter” at their tables. Students used their menu [brochure foldable] to assist them in tasting each book. The menu had 5 sections that matched our 5 books to preview perfectly. I set the timer for 5 minutes per book.
9. Once the timer was finished I allowed a few last seconds for students to complete their jots about the book they just “tasted” in their menu. Then students rotated books. They did this for all 5 books on their platter. Each platter was the same for each table. As I chose 5 novels per class and had each in a book set of 6. With 6 tables I divided up the books equally on each table.
10. After student “tasted” each of the 5 book choices, they then picked their top 3 choices of books to read in our new round of Book Clubs! Students used this simple form and wrote their names on the back. I collected them and this is how I have organized students into their new book club.
11. The last step was for students to complete their Reflection Napkin! Students used a few question stems to record their thoughts and feelings about the Book Tasting. It melted my heart to read them. The students were completely immersed in the event and loved it! They loved books they never would have tried and enjoyed the atmosphere set up to be introduced to new books.
I would say that this Book Tasting was a SUCCESS and I can’t wait for the next one!
I shared a video over on my Facebook Page all about my setup!
I hope you found this post informational, helpful and that it left you excited to Host your own Book Tasting!
I’m teaming up with Head Over Heels for Teaching to give 2 LUCKY WINNERS her Book Tasting pack for FREE! We are hoping this will help others engage students in new books and a love of reading! This will be a great adventure to implement in any classroom that has HUGE impact!
Click below to start entering! Make sure to share this post with your teacher friends so they can enter too!
The Giveaway will run from Saturday, December 21st @ 9 p.m. EST to Saturday, January 7th @ 8 p.m. EST! You have a week to enter and your teacher friends do too!